Monday, May 22, 2017

Biodiversity

  • Biodiversity Research Regulation

    Under the provisions of the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre Ordinance 1997 and (Amendment) Ordinance 2003, the Sarawak Biodiversity Council is given the responsibility to regulate research on biological and protected resources as defined by the Ordinance and export of the State’s Biological Resources.

    To implement these duties, the Sarawak Biodiversity Council has put in place the Research Permit System which provides for four types of permits: The Permit to Collect Protected Resources, Export Permit, Sales Permit of Protected Resources and Ethnobotanical Research Permit.

    The application process (please refer to pdf Research Application Flow Chart (88 KB) ) starts with the submission of completed  document Research Application Form (158 KB) to Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC) for administration and in-house technical evaluations. The application will also be sent to at least two independent technical evaluators who are experts in the research field in question.  These evaluators will submit their technical evaluation on the feasibility and the value of the proposed research as well as on the technical competency of the applicant to conduct the research.

    These technical evaluations are then put forward to the Council for deliberation and approval.  If the Council approves the application, SBC then prepares a draft Research Agreement for discussion with the applicant.  When both parties agree, the Research Agreement is then finalized and signed between the researcher and the Chairman of the Council. Applicant is also required to apply for export permit if he or she intends to conduct the research outside of Sarawak.

    Potential applicants are required to complete the document Research Application Form (158 KB) (a separate document Guidelines for Research Application Form (30 KB) for the form can be downloaded) and submit it to SBC.

    NOTE: Those who intend to apply to conduct research in Sarawak are advised to download and read the following documents before proceeding to fill in the Research Application Form.

  • Effect of Bunga Ta'ang essential oil volatile vapour on growth of the plant pathogenic fungus: Ganoderma boninense

    Summary
    Bunga Ta’ang is the local name of an aromatic herbaceous plant traditionally used by the Bidayuh community in Sarawak to ward off ticks in domestic animals. The essential oil from this plant was screened and shows anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties against a wide range of pathogenic pathogen with varying effectiveness. Ganoderma boninense is a causal agent of basal stem rot (BSR) and upper stem rot (USR), an economic threat to the palm oil industries. The aim of this study is to determine the antifungal activity of the vapour from the essential oil of Bunga Ta’ang on G. boninense.

     

    The Findings
    This study indicates that the volatile vapour from Bunga Ta'ang essential oil showed strong inhibitory activity on G. boninensissuggesting that the volatile vapour can be used as an effective biological control agent. Further studies are necessary to investigate the specific compound in the essential oil that limit the growth of G. boninense. Whereas, future work on formulation design and field experiments need to be carried out in order to improve the efficacy and stability of the volatile compound as well as to reduce the production cost of compound as fungicides.

     

    Figure 1: Effect of the volatile vapour from Bunga Ta'ang essential oil on radial mycelial growth of Ganoderma boninense evaluated using vapour-agar contact method. Results shown are average values of mycelium diameter from three replicates.

     

    Duration Of Exposure

     

    Figure 2: Antifungal activity of the volatile vapour from Bunga Ta’ang essential oils on Ganoderma boninense (7 days exposure).

    Antifungal Activity

     

    Exposed

    Exposed

    Mycelium diameter;19 mm

    Unexposed (Control)

    Unexposed

    Mycelium diameter ; 90 mm

     

    The fungistatic activity observed from the volatile vapour suggested that the volatility of the oil’s chemical composition might influence the potency of the antifungal activity.

     

    For more information please contact us here.

  • Furfural: From biomass to high value chemical

    Furfural compound structureFurfural, a chemical with $450M worldwide market worth, is a renewable, non-petroleum based chemical used for making resins, lubricants, and as precursor for tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol (a green industry solvent).

    Furfural can be produced in the laboratory by acid catalyzed hydrolysis and dehydration of hemicellulose but this conventional method is not effective in energy consumption, cost and yield. Over the past couple of years, different approaches (by solvent and enzymes) have been described in production of high value chemicals and fuel from the renewable biomass resources.

    One of the new platforms available in the market now TRIVERSA PROCESSTM , is introduced by GlucanBio Biorenewables LLC (GlucanBio) located in St. Louis, Missouri USA. This technology delivers cost –disruptive advanced material and biochemicals.

    The technology emphasizes on “no separation, no clean –up and no enzyme required”. It uses solvent, gamma-valeroactone (GVL) that enables the fractionations process of biomass 100 times faster than conventional method, separating the cellulose and the hemicelloluse into two streams which later can be converted into furfural and its co-products such as lignin. The technology can deliver furfural at 35% lower cost than current technology

    empty fruit bunchesTo create a more sustainable economy by using biological resources and biomass waste for various industrial application such as biofuels and natural chemicals, SBC and GlucanBio collaborates to screen biomass wastes from Sarawak which included oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB), Nipah palm, sago pith, and wood chips.

    The best yield of furfural is obtained from EFB. In Sarawak, much of the biomass wastes especially from oil palm industries are still underutilised. Therefore, the collaborative research with GlucanBio will develop a platform which will enhance economic growth for the state through better utilization of biomass and better management of environmental wastes.

  • SBC Microbial Library

    In line with the Natural Product Discovery programme in Sarawak Biodiversity Centre (SBC), to date, SBC’s microbial library currently hosts a collection of 11,000 actinomycetes strains and 6,800 fungi strains. Microbial strains are purified, identified and preserved with their bioactivity characterized.

    We have collected a total 2,153 plant and soil samples from 61 locations across Sarawak. Soil microbes occurs in natural and man-made environments; they differ with soil type, pH, vegetation, geographical location and climatic condition. Biological diversity in Sarawak works a surrogate for chemical diversity. Below are images of some beautiful actinomycetes and fungi isolated from samples across Sarawak.